Legal Regime of Economic Offences

Legal Regime of Economic Offences

On 29 January, Decree-Law 9/2021 approving the legal framework for economic offences “RJCE”  was published.

This new regime is designed to simplify, standardise, and ensure the proportionality of the penalty procedure for access to and the exercise of economic activities.

Hence, some of the issues addressed and regulated throughout the RJCE should be highlighted:

  • Classification of offences, according to the relevance of the legal assets under protection, as: light, serious or very serious;
  • New minimum and maximum fines determined according to the size of the legal persons (micro/small/medium/large enterprise);
  • Attempts are now punishable in serious and very serious economic offences, in which case the minimum and maximum limits of the applicable fines are reduced in half;
  • When it comes to very serious and serious offences, the minimum and maximum limits of the fines to be imposed are doubled where the offender (i) by his action or omission, has caused damage to the health or safety of persons or property and (ii) derives from the offence an economic benefit calculable above the maximum limit of the fine and there are no other means of eliminating it;
  • The warning system for light orders does not amount to a conviction. The application of this system depends on whether the defendant has not been warned or convicted of an economic offence in the last 3 years;
  • The pre-trial phase, with the plaintiff/participant not being able to carry out pre-trial duties in the same case;
  • The obligation to appoint an attorney in the judicial phase of the administrative offence proceeding, where the amount of the applicable fine exceeds EUR 10,000.00;
  • The reduction by 20% of the minimum amount of the fine to be collected, regardless of the classification of the infringements, in cases of voluntary payment of the fine, and the payment of costs by half when the defendant makes the payment during the time allowed for presentation of the defence;

 

The RJCE enters into force 180 days after its publication – 28 July 2021.

Nuno Nogueira Pinto

Nuno Nogueira Pinto

Lawyer

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